In an interview with Crain's Greg Hinz, Brady blamed his Party's problems on conservatives who he calls "a sliver of people who just care about things that aren't very important" - particularly the redefinition of marriage, the breakdown of the family, freedom of conscience, private property, infanticide and euthanasia, taxes, debt, education, regulation, terrorism, corruption, privacy, right-to-work, etc. ...established conservative issues that "aren't very important"..."things".
So it begs the question: How narrow a public policy platform does the Illinois Republican Party require before it feels safe from the threat of this "sliver of individuals"?
Brady ally and state representative Jim Durkin weighed in, telling Hinz "We (Illinois Republicans) should be winning on the fiscal argument. But it's being drowned out by the hard right."
This seems an almost self-loathing analysis and purposeful misreading of reality since it's the Democrats - not the Republicans - with super majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly, and total control over the legislative calendar and agenda. If any group is to blame for drowning out Illinois' fiscal crisis with "social" issues, it would be the left...not the right.
After all, it is the Democrats (not conservatives) who are pushing to redefine marriage in Illinois. It is the Democrats (not "the sliver of people") who refuse to require minimal health standards in the state's abortion clinics. It is the Democrats (not "the hard right") who insist on exposing five-year-olds to graphic sex education materials. It is the Democrats (not the base of the Republican Party) who seem hell-bent on social engineering rather than fixing the state's financial problems.
Without question, the job of Party Chairman is not an easy one. Brady deserves credit and thanks for serving during some very challenging years. But to part by putting the cross-hairs on conservative Republicans seems both counterproductive and unworthy.
As a result, when asked about Brady's confession to Hinz that he feels "a little liberated" by his resignation, one conservative Republican leader said, "So do we!"
The question now is, who will take the thankless mantel of ILGOP leadership? The Party's State Central Committee is already making phone calls, asking individuals if they wish to apply. One of those individuals told Illinois Review the process "seems to be upside down." According to this candidate, the Party should "determine its objectives, define the leadership needed to reach those objectives, and then launch a search for the new Party CEO." Taking applications "only attracts emotional rather than organizational leadership," noted the possible future chairman.
So, from George Ryan in 2001 to Pat Brady in 2013, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Everyone now waits to see if the next Chairman can find real solutions to the real problems plaguing the Illinois Republican Party.
NOTE: Some have questioned the Brady/Ryan comparison. Below are quotes from a Fox News report on Ryan's announcement that he would not seek a second term as Governor of Illinois:
"He [Ryan] also had harsh words for conservative Republicans who criticized him for raising taxes to build roads, vetoing abortion restrictions for women on Medicaid and supporting anti-discrimination protection for gays.
"I can take the heat, but I worry for the Republican Party," said the 67-year-old governor, who has held statewide office since he became lieutenant governor in 1983. "If we're to be successful, we need to listen more and shout less. We need to moderate our positions."